Your choice of a location can make or break your business, so put careful thought and analysis into your needs. This is not a decision to be made quickly or lightly.
First of all, consider your type of business. Do you require heavy traffic (either foot or car), or will people come to you? For some businesses, such as retail stores, location is critical. Others—manufacturers, some services, wholesalers, etc.—do not rely heavily on customers at the door, so location can be less of a factor. You may even be able to find a local small business incubator or operate out of your home.
Consider the following factors as they apply to your unique business needs when choosing a location:
- Specific needs of your business—space, special installations, etc.
- Zoning requirements (check with your local planning office)
- Appearance of the area, safety
- Customer base of the area, population density and type
- Traffic patterns, accessibility, and parking
- Nature of the competition
- Lease terms
- Assistance—merchants associations, landlord, etc.
There are a number of places to go for assistance in choosing a location. The local Chamber of Commerce can often help. Small Business Development Centers, funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, have offices throughout the country that provide free counseling assistance as well as literature and information. There are also professional consultants, bankers, lawyers, or real-estate agents who have information that can help in making this important decision.